Saturday, February 21, 2015

Emonda SL Update

Well the weather here in Maryland has been just terrible. Temperatures below 0° a few days and the others hovering around 7°, so road time has been nearly impossible or at least not desirable.

Back in Black Baby...
I have had only a few rides on the new Emonda SL, so it is hard to give a real update, but this will be my first impressions so far. I have to admit, I wasn't really looking to get a new road bike. I was actually looking to get yet another dirt machine. Working at the shop allows for some crazy deals through Trek that allow employees to get bikes, frames at a crazy price. Now, I loved my Pistola. I loved everything about it. It was light enough (16.6lbs) for a steel bike. The fit was great. It looked awesome and rode like it. The one area that it wasn't as nice (now we are talking about a steel frame) was the small amount of flex when hammering on flats or climbs. Now again, I am not saying the bike was horrible when it came to efforts like those, it did what most steel frame do and that is provide a great all day ride. Anyway, I felt I needed something a bit stiffer, but still somewhat comfortable.

The Emonda line is dubbed the lightest road line ever…wwwwwell, it is if you are looking at the SLR
Yes, there is a saddle there. 98g of comfort
series, but that will set you back 15k. The SL series frame weighs in at 1305 grams (with mast, headset, fork, etc.). To put that into perspective, my Pistola weighed 1865…without seat post. I built mine from the frame up with all my Sram Red parts from the Pistola and the total bike weight w/o pedals was 13.82lbs, with Speedplay chromoly pedals comes to 14.23lbs. in a 58cm frame. Now of course to get the weight down required some chance on my part. I love the Selle Italia Aspide saddles; always have. So when I found that our manufacturing brethren in China are producing an exact copy of it in full carbon…at $30 free shipping and 97g!

So the limited ride time so far has yielded what I pretty much expected; fast, light and surprisingly comfortable. I hit a few climbs (winter riding climbs) at about 60% effort and you feel the immediate acceleration, even at base mile speed. Of course I am riding the superb Bontrager XXX lite carbon wheels, which add to the lateral stiffness. The fit is aggressive, but not so aggressive to feel like you need to be racing in the Tour. The fit is almost identical to my Pistola, a tad more aggressive, but not enough to make any noticeable difference. I think Trek hit it right with their Ride Tuned seat mast, too. It acts bit like the Domane, without the extra hardware; very comfortable and it looks pretty cool. Trek also has the nice integrated chain keep to keep from destroying your frame in case of chain drop. I am still up in the air with the whole drop in bearing thing when it comes to the bottom bracket. I know it has been around a bit now and it saves weight and adds stiffness, but I still like the outboard bearing design for its ease of replacement and options.

I haven't found anything that I would really change other than the gloss finish. I would like the matte finish of the SLR10 myself. Although, this is one of the few paint jobs that I like from Trek…just the name an a minor stripe. Stately, but not overstated un-like most Trek finishes.

So, I need to get some real ride time on this thing to get you some real numbers, but I will leave you with this did bit for now and go back to shoveling snow...